Outremer 45

Per­for­mance and safety make for a fine and very fun blue­wa­ter pas­sager­maker

SAIL - - New Boats - By Adam Cort

It’s funny the way things that work right al­most in­evitably tend to look right as well. Case in point: the Outremer 45, a cata­ma­ran that can’t help but turn heads with its large rig, nicely sculpted cab­in­trunk and nar­row, pur­pose­ful bows. Bet­ter yet, un­der sail the boat more than ful­fills any ex­pec­ta­tions you might have had check­ing it out at the dock, be­ing a per­for­mance blue­wa­ter cruiser that is an ab­so­lute blast to sail.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

A prod­uct of the cel­e­brated Outremer yard in La Grande Motte in the South of France, the Outremer 45’s com­mit­ment to per­for­mance and safety be­gins with a de­sign that is not just well ex­e­cuted, but down­right smart, hav­ing been born of al­most a quar­ter cen­tury of boat­build­ing.

The hulls and deck, for ex­am­ple, are built in vinylester with a di­viny­cell core. How­ever, the hull layup be­neath the wa­ter­line is solid glass in the in­ter­est of se­cu­rity should you ever ex­pe­ri­ence a ground­ing. Sim­i­larly, in spite of the boat’s em­pha­sis on per­for­mance, Outremer is not afraid to use a lit­tle more ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing car­bon, in high-load ar­eas to en­sure rigid­ity and dura­bil­ity over time. Along these same lines, the hull/deck joint is not just glued on an in­ward-turn­ing flange, but se­curely glassed in all around, and the bows in­clude mul­ti­ple “crash boxes” to pre­vent wa­ter ingress in the event of a col­li­sion. The dag­ger­board trunks are also not only rock-solid, but the boards them­selves de­signed to break away first, act­ing as “fuses,” as it were.

“The in­tent is to build a boat that will last 50 years,” said Outremer di­rec- tor of sales Matthieu Rougevin-Bav­ille, who was with me for my sail trial, adding that in the course of a half a cen­tury, “some­thing will hap­pen” that will re­quire this ex­tra mea­sure of build qual­ity. He also noted how on one oc­ca­sion an Outremer 45 grounded for four days on a reef off Tahiti and came away with lit­tle more than some scratches be­low the wa­ter­line.

Over­head, out test boat car­ried a car­bon Axxon mast and alu­minum boom fly­ing a pow­er­ful, fully-bat­tened square-top main. (A car­bon boom is also avail­able as an op­tion.) The in­ner head­sail is self-tack­ing, and a reach­ing sail can be flown off a sprit. Again, the hulls are nar­row, with a plumb stem and tran­som to max­i­mize sail­ing length. The low­pro­file cab­in­trunk is also grace­fully sculpted to help re­duce windage.

In­ter­est­ingly, Matthieu noted that the boat’s stream­lined de­sign is not just about speed, but also safety and seakind­li­ness. “Nar­row hulls pro­duce far less pitch­ing,” he said. “That is what com­fort at sea is re­ally about, not the size of the beds or mas­sive bed­rooms.” He added that by be­ing more eas­ily driven, you can also reef the boat be­fore­hand in un­sta­ble con­di­tions and still keep mov­ing, a nice op­tion when short­handed. Again, the Outremer 45 isn’t just well made, but smart in its over­all con­cep­tion.

ON DECK

One of the great things about not max­i­miz­ing your cab­in­trunk in the in­ter­est of hav­ing an ab­so­lutely enor­mous sa­loon is that it opens up all kinds of space top­sides for things like nice wide-open sid­edecks and easy tran­si­tions to and from the cock­pit. The Outremer 45 also in­cludes plenty of nice touches to en­sure you are able to move about in safety: like handrails along ei­ther side of the cab­in­trunk; to­erails out­board; and a great lit­tle anti-skid equipped step just aft of the track for the self-tack­ing head­sail for climb­ing up onto the cab­in­trunk to tend the main. Alas, I’ve sailed aboard a num­ber of mul­ti­hulls where go­ing for­ward in any kind of a sea­way is a true leap of faith. How­ever, the Outremer 45 is not one of them.

Aft, a sin­gle helm sta­tion with a wheel to port comes stan­dard, but there is the op­tion of adding a pair of out­board tillers com­plete with a

com­pos­ite bucket seat, a la, say, a MOD70 tri­maran. They’re in­cred­i­bly cool, and ac­cord­ing to Matthieu, pretty much ev­ery­one gets them.

The main trav­eler spans the width of the cock­pit along the aft edge of the seat­back of an L-shaped bench en­clos­ing two sides of a fair-sized din­ing ta­ble. On our test boat, the dinghy davits also served as mounts for a pair of so­lar pan­els. Con­trol lines for the dag­ger­boards run aft to ei­ther side of the cock­pit. Lew­mar winches, tracks and blocks were used through­out in con­cert with Spin­lock clutches, a Fac­nor furler for the jib and a Pro­furl con­tin­u­ous-line furler at the end of the sprit for the boat’s A-sail. The short length of the cab­in­trunk means the Lew­mar wind­lass can be in­stalled (and the chain stored) a bit far­ther aft than you usu­ally see, help­ing keep weight to­ward the mid­dle of the boat with an eye to­ward fur­ther re­duc­ing pitch­ing.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS

An­other funny thing about boats that work well is that I in­evitably find my­self run­ning out of room when writ­ing about them. Not only that, it’s the ac­com­mo­da­tions that seem to get short shrift. I guess that shows where my pri­or­i­ties are.

Suf­fice it to say that while the Outremer 45 may not have the mas­sive amounts of ac­com­mo­da­tion space found on those cats more typ­i­cally found in the char­ter trade, it re­mains a com­fort­able boat, with taste­fully ap­pointed ac­com­mo­da­tions. Two dif­fer­ent ar­range­ments are avail­able, in­clud­ing a three-cabin lay­out in which the en­tire star­board hull is given over to the owner, and a four-cabin lay­out in which an ad­di­tional cabin is lo­cated in the star­board bow.

The sa­loon fea­tures an L-shaped gal­ley to star­board with the in­board counter nicely po­si­tioned so that it can be eas­ily ac­cessed from the cock­pit when the boat’s large slid­ing door is opened—a ex­cel­lent way of trans­fer­ring snacks and drinks. Di­rectly for­ward of the gal­ley is the nav sta­tion, across from which is a dinette. It never ceases to amaze me how in­ef­fi­ciently the mas­sive sa­loon spa­ces are con­fig­ured aboard some larger cats. Aboard the Outremer 45, though, the lay­out is ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively con­ceived, pro­vid­ing plenty of room for all. UN­DER SAIL Un­der­way is where the rub­ber meets the road with a boat like the Outremer 45, and for our test sail we were lucky to have out­stand­ing weather—winds in the high teens out of the north­east on a short delivery from Mi­ami to Fort Laud­erdale.

Mo­tor­ing out of Gov­ern­ment Cut, we bore away onto a close reach in around 15 knots of breeze and were soon storm­ing along at a very sat­is­fy­ing 9-10 knots. Equally im­pres­sive was the boat’s mo­tion in the 4-5ft seas, which was easy and pre­dictable, in stark con­trast to all too many cruis­ing cats out there. Mar­ket­ing hype aside, a half-knot of boat­speed more or less isn’t go­ing to make much of a dif­fer­ence, even on pas­sage. How­ever, a nasty, whippy mo­tion in a sea­way is. The Outremer 45 is a boat that takes good care of its crew.

The Jefa steer­ing sys­tem also felt not only light, but won­der­fully re­spon­sive to the wind and waves—one of the true marks of a per­for­mance mul­ti­hull. Flip­ping on the au­topi­lot con­firmed that the rig and hulls were in good bal­ance, as it had lit­tle to do, even in the mod­er­ate sea­way.

Clos­ing in on Fort Laud­erdale we threw in a few tacks, just to see how the boat would do, and it did just fine, de­spite the con­di­tions be­ing such that many less nim­ble cats would have fal­tered. Bear­ing away to­ward the chan­nel into Port Ever­glades, and with the wind fall­ing light, we hoisted the A-sail, which kept our speed up in the 10-11 knot range on a broad reach right through the end of our short pas­sage. My only com­plaint? That said pas­sage couldn’t have been three or four days longer.

UN­DER POWER No sur­prises here, es­pe­cially given the Outremer’s eas­ily driven hulls. At 1,000 rpm the boat scooted along at 3.5 knots, while revving up to 2,700 rpm in­creased our boat­speed to 7.5 knots.

CON­CLU­SION

There are ba­si­cally two kinds of sail tri­als: those where you do your job and eval­u­ate the boat’s mer­its; and those dur­ing which you find your­self wish­ing (dream­ing?) that the boat in ques­tion was yours. My sail aboard the Outremer 45 def­i­nitely fell un­der the lat­ter cat­e­gory: the the kind of boat that is not only ex­pressly in­tended to sail over the hori­zon in search of ad­ven­ture, but also a heck of a lot of fun to just sail. s

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